Aug 23

This famous D-Day photo may show the survivors of Landing Craft Tank 458 after it hit a mine being rescued on Utah Beach. Tec-5 Joseph Fedish was killed on board LCT 458 that day, June 6, 1944. He is now buried in the Gettysburg National Cemetery. This image is courtesy of the United States Army/National Archives.

Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel, of Mercersville, New Jersey, is conducting a new research project that seeks to uncover and present the stories of American soldiers killed in World War Two, and who are now buried in the Gettysburg Soldiers National Cemetery.

Resting near the Civil War dead – and overlooked by many visitors – are two seamen killed at Pearl Harbor, 11 who fell in the D-Day landings, an artilleryman killed in the infamous Malmedy massacre, the young pilots of B-17’s, B-24 Liberators, and B-26 Marauders, a P-51 fighter ace, and one boy from the Allentown, Pennsylvania area, who was killed in the Marine Corps’ first Pacific battle on Guadalcanal at the shocking age of 15.

The Gettysburg cemetery is most widely recognized as a Civil War landmark, particularly as the site of the immortal address delivered by President Lincoln in 1863. But of the roughly 7,000 veteran graves, more than 1,600 are for veterans of World War Two, and nearly 500 of those men died during that war.

“My concern is that these brave Americans who lost their lives – many of them extremely young – do not receive our attention and our affection,” said Siegel.

Ralph has documented the 494 graves of World War Two dead buried at Gettysburg whose dates of death coincide with the years of the war. Digital images were made of each grave and used to enhance unreadable grave markings. Databases from the National Archive and the National WWII Memorial helped confirm that 433 of these veterans died in battle or in combat-related missions. The names are listed at a special research website, www.WW2atGettysburg.com.

“I hope the tours and the Web site will prompt family members and unit historians to make contact and send along records, recollections or tips on where to find records,” said Siegel. “We are trying to collect documents, to confirm details and to make sure that these important, dramatic stories are also told here at Gettysburg.”

Ralph Siegel has been a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park since 2004, and he has long taken a special interest in conducting cemetery tours.

In the first World War II at Gettysburg post, Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel introduced us to the series, and showed us individuals killed in action at Pearl Harbor and Guadalcanal.

In the second World War II at Gettysburg post, Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel shows the final resting place of individuals killed during the Italian Campaign, and in air operations in the Mediterranean Sea.

In today’s World War II at Gettysburg post, Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel shows the final resting place of individuals killed at Normandy, Iwo Jima, Saipan, Guam, and Okinawa.

To contact Ralph, you can click here to reveal his email address.

This map shows the location of the videos for the World War II at Gettysburg series. Videos #1-#7 were taken in Section 2 of the Gettysburg National Cemetery. This map was created facing north at approximately 5:00 PM on Sunday, August 22, 2010.

This map shows the only three “outer” sections of the Gettysburg National Cemetery which contain the 495 graves of men who died during World War Two. This map, created facing east, is courtesy of Ralph Siegel.

Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel is kneeling by the grave of Tec-5 Joseph Fedish, killed on June 6, 1944 at, or just before reaching, Utah Beach. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:45 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

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In Video #6 (Videos #1-#5 were shown in the previous World War II at Gettysburg posts) Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel shows us the graves of individuals killed in or around France in June, 1944. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:45 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010. Correction:  Alan Augustine identified in Video #6 was 19 years old was actually 24 years old.

Tec-5 Joseph Fedish drove the M7 105mm. Howitzer, shown here in a WWII photograph. This image is courtesy of the United States Army/National Archives.

Private First Class Alfred Augustine was killed on Utah Beach on June 6, 1944 while performing his engineering duties. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:45 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

Seaman Stanley Magargal of the Allentown suburb of Perkasie, Pennsylvania, was only 17 when he went down with his ship in Cherbourg Harbor, France on September 25, 1944 while clearing the crucial seaport of mines. This image is courtesy of the National World War II Memorial.

Seaman Stanley Magargal was from the Allentown, Pennsylvania area. He was killed aboard a World War I era minesweeper when it struck a mine in Cherbourg Harbor. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:45 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

The aging USS Miantonomah struck a mine in Cherbourg Harbor and sunk in 20 minutes, with a loss of more than 70 crewman, including one 17-year-old Stanley Magargal. Clearing the harbor of mines was a deadly but crucial mission. Over the following three months 21 divisions with 500,000 troops would come through the port. This image is courtesy of the United States Navy History & Heritage Command Archive.

When killed in action on D-Day, Private First Class Byron Stanton was a member of the 116th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:45 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

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In Video #7 Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel continues to shows the graves of some airmen killed in France, but also individuals killed at Iwo Jima, Saipan, Guam, and Okinawa. This view was taken facing northwest to southwest at approximately 3:45 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel is kneeling by the graves of the only pair of brothers that he knows are buried in the Gettysburg National Cemetery and who were killed during World War II. Private Frank Materewicz was a member of the 506th Parachute Infantry. Sergeant Edward Materewicz was killed as a member of a B-17 crew. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:45 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

Sergeant Joseph Cook was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and four air medals. Second Lieutenant Clair Truby co-piloted a B-24 Liberator. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:45 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

Crew photo of pilot Lt. William Moseley’s B-24 Liberator crew of the 833rd Bomb Squadron, 486th Bomb Group (Heavy). Moseley is front row center. Co-pilot Lt. Clair Truby is to the right of Moseley. All of them died on June 8, 1944. This image is courtesy of the 486th Bomb Group Association.

A close-up of Lt. Clair Truby that seems to show him as a man with a playful or perhaps mischievous character. This image is courtesy of the 486th Bomb Group Association.

This is one of the B-24 Liberators, nicknamed “Winnie the Pooh,” that was flown by Lt. Clair Truby and his crew. This image is courtesy of the 486th Bomb Group Association.

Robert Livingston was a Marine killed at Iwo Jima. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:45 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

Leoonard Wallington was a Marine killed at Guam. John Waytow was a Marine killed at Saipan. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:45 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

William O’Neill was a Marine killed on Okinawa. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:45 PM on Sunday, July 11, 2010.

This chart provides a breakdown of where the World War II Gettysburg dead are buried. There are 1624 World War II veterans in the Gettysburg National Cemetery. 494 of them died during the war, and 431 were killed in action. There are 433 headstones because the bodies of two individuals were never recovered. This chart is courtesy of Ralph Siegel.

To see other posts by Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guides, click here.


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